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Charlton Athletic 3 C & K Basildon 2
Charlton Athletic moved into the third round of the FAWPL Cup by beating C & K Basildon by the odd goal in five at Thamesmead Town FC.
A fine Kit Graham hat-trick was the key to the victory, with Charlton ahead early and the visitors always playing catch up, which led to thoroughly entertaining match played at a lively pace throughout.
Charlton opened well, moving the ball crisply and threatening the C & K goal. Keeper Nikita Runnacles dived low to turn away a Graham shot on nine minutes and was up quickly to hold the follow up shot. However, there was no stopping the opener on 20 minutes. Graham was fouled on the edge of the area and lifted a perfectly weighted and directed free kick over the wall beyond the leaping keeper and just under the bar.
Avilla Bergin was very lively down the left and struck the bar with a curled shot with Runnacles doing well to prevent the rebound being forced home from a yard out. It was Graham who added the Charlton second around the half hour, finishing calmly when sent clear of the last defender.
C & K were back in the tie on 35 minutes when Zoe Rushen found space and hit a super long range effort beyond Alex Baker. The Charlton keeper did well right on the break to keep Charlton ahead, moving smartly to her left to hold an Amy Nash strike from distance.
Charlton again started strongly, adding a third goal on 50 minutes. Clever play down the left from Bergin and Katie Flack won a corner which the same pair took quickly. A well weighted cross found the head of Graham, darting between two defenders to send a powerful effort into the corner from eight yards out.
Sam Pittuck nearly added a fourth with a powerful first time effort just over and it seemed that Charlton might go on to match the six goals they scored in the league meeting between the two. However, despite creating a few more shooting chances, Runnacles was able to gather them comfortably and even when Graham got another header past the keeper from a corner, Kayleigh Xidhas was on hand to clear off the line.
At the other end, substitutes Karissa Rodney and Angela Addison strengthened the C & K attacking threat considerably. Rushen struck the bar with a curled first time shot from the edge of the area, Hannah Porter headed over from a Rushen corner, but the defender was then on hand to reduce the deficit on 88 minutes when a free kick was only half cleared. Another good move set up Lily Mellors twelve yards out but she was well closed down before shooting and Charlton saw out the final minutes for a hard fought win.
Winners of the FAWPL Cup in 2014-15, Charlton will await the outcome of rest of the ties over the coming weeks and the subsequent draw for the third round.
Charlton Athletic: Alex Baker, Katy Flack, Kim Dixson, Grace Coombes, Jenny Newman, Charley Clifford, Sam Pittuck, Avilla Bergin, Rosey Sullivan, Kit Graham, Ruby Southgate. Subs: Flo Jackson, Beth Weller, Rosie Paye.
C & K Basildon: Nikita Runnacles, Paige Bradley, Laura Guyon, Stacey Little, Lily Mellors, Amy Nash, Hannah Porter, Zoe Rushen, Sara Sinclair, Kerry-Ann Stimson, Kayleigh Xidhas. Subs: Karissa Rodney, Angela Addison.
(Report by Patrick Higgins)
Photos by www.jamesprickett.co.uk:
(top) Kerry-Anne Stimson slides in to tackle Avilla Bergin
(middle) Nikita Runnacles and Kayleigh Xidhas manage to keep out Jenny Newman
(bottom) Angela Addison tries to clear from Ruby Southgate
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